Monthly Archives: January 2013

Things That Are Acceptable In The Weight Room but Not In Real Life

The weight room is a beautiful place. It’s a place where you can find peace and escape from the real world and just lift heavy objects. It’s also a strange blend of personalities and styles, where what is acceptable in the gym is not acceptable outside its holy walls.

So to have a little fun I put together a list of 6 things that will make you immensely cooler and more attractive to the opposite sex in the weight room.

*Keep in mind this is my opinion, which makes it fact.

 Chains

It has been proven in many studies that putting chains on any lift makes you 67% cooler to any onlookers. Doing a deadlift? Throw some chains on it. Push ups? Chain it! Inverted row? Chain it! Car stuck in the snow? No! You don’t chain it. It’s not in the weight room, that ain’t cool.Chain pushup with rings_0

Wearing chains in public is not cool. You will look like a douche, unless your name is Mr. T. That is the only exception to the rule. So if you played on a TV show in the 80’s called The A-Team, then yes, you can wear chains in public. Other then that, don’t do it.

Bands

Bands are similar to chains but they are slightly less cool then chains but still pretty freakin cool. If you are to look at percentages it’s somewhere in the area of a 26% – 32% increase in badassery.

Where do bands look cool? In any big multi joint lift.

On the flipside bands can make you look less cool in any lifts where they are making an exercise easier, like pull ups. Sorry it’s a double-edged sword.

Bands were acceptable in public until someone lied to us for a decade about taking PEDs. Now I’ll never be able to enjoy bicycle racing like I once never did again. Bands in public are not so cool, anymore.

Chuck Taylor’s

A good set of sweet kicks can really set you apart from the rest of the crowd. One of the best shoes to do that with is the Chucky T’s. I don’t know if people call them that but I am a trendsetter. They’re different and they have no heel lift so they are great for deadlifting, squatting, and lifting activities.

cardboard Converse Chuck Taylor by Mike Leavitt

I will make an exception and say Chuck’s are OK to wear outside the gym walls. They are a great shoe to wear in any situation, just make sure you have two pair; one for the gym and one for the streets. Don’t be tracking your dirty shoes throughout the gym, that ain’t Chuck, that ain’t cool.

Water Jugs

Hydrating during a workout is a must, but how you do it is just as, or more important. You have to hydrate in style, and no I’m not talking about a bedazzled water bottle.

*Side note just found out that bedazzled is an actual word

You have to drink it out of something that says, “I make water my bitch, and I don’t care what you think”. Examples: a water jug, oilcan, gas can, sippy cup, ext. Anything that shows you don’t care what you drink your water out of as long as you get it.

Another upside to using a water jug is it’s hard to loose and they only cost 79 cents. It’s a win win. Also it makes me laugh every time I see someone drinking out of a water jug.

In the real world this will make you look like a tool. So stick with the regular water bottle.

Eclectic T Shirts

I love wearing and seeing people wear strange t-shirts to the gym. That can be a sweet power ranger t, a batman shirt, or my personal tie-dyed sea turtle t-shirt, it was a gift from my mom. Any shirt that you get and think, “I can’t wear that in public” that’s OK they are perfect for the gym.AAAAC460kv0AAAAAABKdpg

The shirt says, “I like to have a goodtime, but don’t care what you think about me, because I’m here for one reason, to crush mad amounts of weight.”

In the real world the shirt says just the opposite. It says something more like this, “Hi, I like to play D&D. I live with my mother and have three cats named Anakin, Artemis, and Thor, they’re my best friends”. Don’t do it.

Sweat Pants and Hoodies

The great part about the gym is its casual time all the time. Winter sweat pants and hoods, or as I like to call it a fitness tuxedo, summer time t shirt and shorts are OK. Wearing the fitness tuxedo is normal at the gym. I would not say this makes you look more appealing to the opposite sex but it does not hurt it either.

The flip side, it’s not so cool to wear outside the gym.

(True story)

I walked into a store before heading to work, of course strutting my tux. I heard one man say to another fellow man, “Ha, that guy must be on his day off.” I immediately went into a blood rage and told the two men nothing. I just kept my cool and continued walking, thinking that they’re just jealous that I get to wear comfy clothes to work and they don’t.

That’s how I found out that hoodies and sweat pants aren’t so cool outside the gym.

Those are my 6 tips on what is acceptable in the gym but not in real life. If you follow these tips you will be like catnip to the ladies, irresistible, in the gym but only in the gym. I can’t stress that enough.

Best

Josh Williams

Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Are You Mature Enough to Lift?

I love the big multi joint lifts. You know deadlifts, squats, and bench. They are great bang for your buck exercises. They can help develop full body strength, but they are not for everyone. People with range of motion limitations, stability problems, or pain with certain movements may be prohibited from performing some of these lifts. This is why it is important to perform an assessment before hand.

The assessment is the time where the client proves to you what they can do. A client may show that they are able to perform the multi joint lifts. Physically they may be capable but one aspect that I think is overlooked is if they are mentally able to perform these lifts.

I know lifting weights is essentially lifting heavy circular objects over and over again until you get that sweet swell. So anyone can do it without putting any thought into it. (This is my attempt at sarcasm.)

When working with young athletes I think it is a privilege for them to perform the big barbell lifts. This is why I am never quick to throw someone under the bar until they have proven to me they can handle it, both physically and mentally. I am like the Gandalf of barbells. I don’t know if that works, but I am sticking with it.media_httpblastrcomas_wwfci-scaled1000

If you look at the deadlift, there is so many things to remember: hips back, chest up, back flat, push through the heels, and I could go on. What I am getting at is that if you don’t have the mental capacity to remember at least a hand full of these reminders, then there is a chance you will end up getting hurt. I don’t expect kids to remember all of them, but there is usually at least one or two cues they are going to have to remind themselves of during each lift.

Weight lifting should be fun, but when it comes time to perform the lift it should be all business. This is where the mental aspect comes in. It is our job to put our athletes in position to improve, while at the same time keeping the risk to reward as low as possible. There is nothing that irks me more then seeing someone mistreat a big lift. It makes me want to go up to the person and slap the bar out of their hands and say, “No”. Of course I don’t do that.

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They may be physically ready but are they mentally ready?

The question is how you know when an athlete is mentally mature enough. Age does play a role. An athlete of college age is more likely to understand the risk of performing a lift improperly. A younger high school athlete may not understand or see the importance of lifting with techniques. They could possibly see it as a need to just lift this weight any way possible, regardless of form. I am not going to mention middle school because I am not a big proponent of prescribing squats or any other big lifts to middle schoolers.

During the assessment it is good to take note of how the athlete acts and responds to your corrections. If they seem to take correction more seriously, then they may be more mentally prepared then someone who may seem to reluctantly take your corrections. From this you may get an idea of where they’re at. If you feel they show good form and are able to focus during the lift then prescribe them some big barbell lifts. You can always back off the lift if they show they are not ready to handle it. You can giveth and taketh away.

All the responsibility does not fall on the shoulders of the athlete. We as coaches need to spend time with our athletes, getting to know them. The more they are comfortable with you the more they will trust you and listen to your instruction. If you get your new athletes to open up to you it is amazing how much more they will listen to you.

Putting Everything Together

The multi joint barbell lifts are not for everyone. The athlete or client must show that they are physically and mentally able to perform the lifts. This is for their safety and well-being. Take note of their level of perceived maturity. From this, if you feel they can handle the big lifts, then prescribe them. You can always remove them. Finally it is our responsibility to get to know our clients. By doing so they will have a greater respect towards you and the lifts they are performing and will understand that you have their best interest at heart.

Best

Josh Williams

Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter 

7 Quick and Easy Sources of Protein

I was inspired this week to make a list of quick and easy ways to get protein into your system after your workout.

I have noticed all to often that after a sweet swole sesh athletes and common folk alike do not replenish their bodies with proteins. Now they could be going home and getting some great protein at home, which is what I would like to believe, but I know better.

Got Protein?

Got Protein?

Protein helps rebuild muscle that has been broken down, a not as well know fact about protein is that it also helps decrease muscular soreness. So eat that protein to get the most out of every workout, and for athletes a carb/protein mix would be best.

Here is a list of some great places to get quick protein.

Greek Yogurt: 14g Protein

This is the most delicious option in my opinion (as long as you don’t get the plain ones), and their easy to eat and portable.

Protein Supplement: 20+g Protein

The classic protein shake/bar is not a bad way to go. It’s quick and easy to make and drink/eat. Just make sure a reliable company is producing the stuff.

Milk: 8g Protein

Can’t go wrong with milk, whether its white or chocolate. The good old Moo Juice has been shown to be just as effective as protein supplements for rebuilding muscle.

Cheese/Cottage Cheese: 26g Protein

I love the cottage cheese, but the texture is not for everyone or the taste. That’s why I like to mix some fruit into it or anything that is somewhat health to make it taste better.

Almonds: 6g Protein

Almonds, peanuts, nuts in general are a good way to get protein and carbs into you after a workout.

Eggs: 6g Protein

The only draw back to eggs is you have to cook them before hand but either way they are a great option.

Canned Tuna: 40g Protein

Tuna is so protein dense but I have not been able to find a way to make it taste good and on top of that I hate opening cans with a can opener. If you can get over these facts then it’s a great option.

Those are my recommendations for quick protein sources, but don’t forget about animal meat. It is by far the best place to get your proteins.

Best

Josh Williams

Things to Read

This week I am coming at you with 10 more things to read.

With the start of a new college semester comes a whole new group of interns. This week I decided to talk about Getting the Most Out of Your Internship.

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As for the others, here they are.

Our Children Are Robots by Doug Spurling

Looking at early sports specialization, and is it good for your kids.

Strength Training Programs: Coaching the Dumbbell Pullover by Eric Cressey

Not Your Average B.S. Core Training by Ben Bruno

2013 Ways To Get Stronger, Leaner, Part I by Sean Hyson

More Tips for A Bigger, Leaner 2013 by Sean Hyson

Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday by Tony Gentilcore

8 Unilateral Pressing Variations by Conor Nordengren

A Foolproof Way to Learn More in 2013 by Mike Reinold

Step Ups: A Better Way that Eliminates Cheating by Nick Tumminello

6 Strategies for Improved Insulin Sensitivity by Clay Hyght

Best

Josh Williams

Getting The Most Out of Your Internship

In the field of strength and conditioning, internships are a must. Without experience it is hard to find a job or even get into institutions of higher learning without practical experience. This is why it is so important that you make the most of every internship experience, especially when the good ones are so heavily sought after.

With a good internship you most likely will not make any monetary gains. What you will gain is tons of experience, knowledge, connections, and a rock solid reference.

Let’s first go over the commonsense portion. team-zissou-intern-the-life-aquatic-t-shirt-vintage-t-shirt-review-vintage-cotton-vintage-cotton-3

Don’t Be On Time, Be Early

Growing up in a military family I learned one thing about being on time, my father would always say, “If you’re early your on time, if you’re on time your late”. By being early you show that you are committed and want to, you know, actually want to be there. This one simple action will go a long way.

Better be three hours too soon than one minute too late. ~ William Shakespeare

(I would not recommend being 3 hours early, but you get the point)

Be Reliable

It is amazing how showing up day after day and doing what you said you are going to do, makes such a big impression. This is because it is hard to find people that are consistent. Be a man or woman of your word and follow through with what you say. This will leave a great impression on your internship supervisors.

By being on time and reliable, these two steps alone will leave a lasting impression on your internship site. The best part is they are easy to do. So as Nike would say, “Just Do It”, that’s if Nike was an entity that was able to verbally communicate with us.

Next, the not so commonsense but still commonsense portion.

Know Your Weaknesses

Going in to an internship you should know what you want to improve on. It is a good idea to set 5 goals going into your internship that you would like to complete by the time you are done. The more specific the goal the better and higher the chance you will complete your goals.

Be Proactive In Your Learning

One of the great things about being at an internship site is that you are surrounded by a group of professionals that have way more knowledge and experience then you. So take advantage of it. Ask questions, pick their brains and get their thoughts and opinions. If there is a topic you think you know but have some doubt, ask about it, and don’t just assume you know it.

Observation is a great way to gain knowledge but it should not be your only means of gathering information. Ask why they do something, or why this over that. I have not met a coach out there that does not love to share their opinions.

One of the biggest mistakes I made in my first internship is that I assumed that the site coordinator was just going to teach me. This did not happen. It took me until the last two weeks of my internship to realize that I have to be proactive in the learning process and ask questions. If I had this mindset in the beginning I would have gotten so much more out of my time there.

So I challenge you to have one question or topic to discuss for every day. This will require you to do some research on your part to find questions or topics that you are not sure about. It is hard to know what you don’t know if you are not actively seeking out what you are lacking.

“Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

Abigail Adams

Learn From Your Mistakes

I can almost guarantee that you will make mistakes throughout your internship. It is how you respond to failure that will shape you. I absolutely hate to make mistakes but I have also found that I learn the most from the mistakes I have made. When you mess up, don’t take it lightly but also don’t beat yourself up, it’s a balance. Find out where you went wrong, what you did right, and how you can fix it so it does not happen again.

Never be afraid of making mistakes. It’s part of the learning process.

“We learn from failure, not from success!”

Bram Stoker, Dracula

Take Notes

This is a really simple non earth shattering idea but if we were all doing this then I would not be telling you to do it. I always have a note pad on me. It helps me remember. I am not going to chance my sieve of a memory to remember what I learned. Simplest solution, write it down.3797341-close-up-of-businessman-taking-notes-in-spiral-notebook

Writing down your questions, answers to those questions, or just writing down what you want to accomplish for the day is a great way to stay on track. It is also a good resource to look back to.

Here is one extra tip, I am cool like that.

Never Take Anything Personally

I believe I got this one from Mike Boyle or some other smart guy.

During your internship you will make mistakes and have lapses in judgment. This is all part of the learning process (as discussed above). People will point out your mistakes and coaches will tell you where you went wrong. Never take anything they say as a personal attack on who you are as a person. Remembering this one quote, “Never take anything personally,” will help tremendously throughout your internship and life in general.

I am out!

Best

Josh Williams

P.S. If you have any other tips for new interns please write them in the comment section. Also don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

What I Learned from Shakira: Looking at the Hip Hinge

In 2006 the latin singer Shakira came out with the hit song My Hips Don’t Lie. If you haven’t seen the music video, believe me there isn’t any deception in those latin money makers. The same is true in the weight room “the hips don’t lie”.shakira-belly-dancing-skirt

With most athletes being quad dominate or knee dominate the backside is often just along for the ride. Even with exercises designed to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings, like deadlifts, you will see people shift their weight forward onto their toes to lift the weight like a squat, activating the quadriceps not the glutes.

The hip hinge is a corner stone of power and strength. This pattern is seen in the squat, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, rack pulls, hang clean and kettlebell swings. Just to mention a few.

With younger athletes it is important to teach them the hip hinge pattern early on in their lifting career. The problem isn’t that athletes want to use their quadriceps for their lifts, but that more of their body is taking the path of lest resistance. The body is smarter then we give it credit. It does what it knows best, which is lifting with the quads over the glutes.

Some of the ways that we can teach the hip hinge is by using cues. The main cues that are used are hips back, ass to the wall, or hump the air. The goal of all these cues is to have your athletes or clients engage with the hips first, not the knees. This will help prevent the knees from going over the toes, decreasing the shear force. Along with making your knees feel happy, you will be loading your backside to do some serious work.

Cues don’t always fix the problem. That’s why it is good to give exercises that will help teach driving the hips back. One of my favorite exercises to accomplish this is the cable pull through. The reason for this is that it forces the hips back by having the force of pull directly behind you.  Your hips have no choice but back. The only draw back is it’s a little awkward if you make eye contact with any one else in the gym while performing this exercise. I like to think of it as showing off my sexual supremacy to the rest of my on lookers.

Other exercises that help hammer home the hip hinge are deadlifts, RDLs, and kettlebell swings (the only caveat I have with the KB swings is it’s a power movement and should only be given when the athlete has shown the ability to perform a solid hip hinge). I also have experimented with partial rep RDLs and have liked what I have seen so far, you can read all about partial rep RDLs from Wil Fleming.

Without a well endowed backside, Shakira may have never been the hit singer she came to be. Why is this? Because, if she did not have any hips to sing about, then there would be no song entitled “My Hips Don’t Lie”. When an athlete has a poor hip hinge, they often have week glutes as well. This is due to them never loading the hips and never finishing with the hips. When you think about it, the hip hinge is in many athletic movements. It plays a key role in jumping and running, which will increase your power and speed. There is not an athlete in the world that I know that doesn’t want to increase one if not all of theses abilities.

Take a closer look at the hip hinge. It could be the key to unlocking some unused strength. And maybe next time people will be asking, “How did you get all that ass in them jeans?”

weight training

Putting everything together: teach hips back, bend at the hips first then knees. Give exercises that will help athletes feel a proper hip hinge, like the pull through. This will lead to stronger glutes, which will increase your overall strength, power, and sex appeal.

Best

Josh Williams

Things to Read

Last week I wrote a post called 2013: A Year to be Optimistic, about how to set goals to be successful in the New Year. You should give it a read.

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This week has been full of reads looking at the year that was and the year that is to come. With things learned and did not learn, why not to stretch, and a new great core exercise.

Health Trends 2012: What We Don’t Want To See In 2013 by Huffington Post

The Best of 2012: Strength and Conditioning Videos by Eric Cressey

12 Things I Learned in 2012 by Doug Spurling

3 Tools to Get More Out of Your Programs in 2013 by Mike Reinold

What I Didn’t Learn in 2012 by Sean Hyson

More Things I Didn’t Learn This Year by Sean Hyson

Stretching Doesn’t Work by Dean Somerset

Fitness Trends 2013 by Alwyn Cosgrove

Exercises You Should Be Doing: Half Kneeling Vertical Pallof Press by Tony Gentilcore

Bests,

Josh Williams